The Intended Trail

Coffee

The race season is winding down after a long year of learning and racing. After some thought I think I learned a few key things that I’m building on for the end of the year and beyond.

Perhaps one of the most important things I have learned this year while racing Enduro, Super-D and Downhill  is that the intended trail to be ridden is not always the fastest. Kind of mind blowing that the “Hershey Highway” we all have raced down might have cheated us of precious seconds. Coming from a Cross Country background I’m learning a skill almost never used in that discipline… the art of line selections. When racing XC you rarely vacillate over the precious seconds like we do on a downhill track that have multiple line options through corners and rock gardens. Usually the game plan is survival mode to not flat your tire or crash.

Its a hard habit to break from ridding the “intended” track. Learning to ride the edges more in search of firm dirt and traction. Looking at exits of corners where you want to be and working back through the corner and making a plan on how to make that happen. A lot of time can be lost and gained in proper cornering execution (something I struggle with).  Sometimes its brilliant and sometimes not. Its all part of the learning process. I’m also learning that the smoothest lines aren’t always faster. The rock Garden you just weaved in and out of… You just lost time if you just hung on and straight lined through it…its all the small things that add up over several enduro stages or a Downhill race that cost time.

Perhaps my thoughts on going fast aren’t “correct” but its how I’m working on getting to that next level. Racing is an art and the trail is your canvas. I think that a level of creativity is crucial to going fast. So when I’m racing I try to tap into what ever creative ability I have and make it fun and go as fast as I can.

That’s all I got for now…

~Powell

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